Oil Spill Cleanup Operations Progress in Arkansas
The Unified Command in charge of cleanup in Mayflower, Ark., initiated a re-entry plan for the evacuated residents in the Northwoods subdivision to safely return to their homes as cleanup continues after ExxonMobil’s Pegasus pipeline ruptured on March 29.
“One month following the spill, we have made significant progress with our recovery efforts in the Northwoods neighborhood and are hopeful we can begin to get residents back into their homes very soon,” said Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson on April 29. “We regret that they have been displaced for so long, but we are doing our best to ensure the job is done right and done safely — something that we cannot sacrifice for the sake of expediency.”
Tree replacement and landscaping at the houses impacted by the oil cleanup will begin after street repairs, including the replacement of curbs and storm drains, are complete on North Starlite Road in the Northwoods subdivision.
The re-entry plan includes step-by-step activities that evacuated residents should complete inside their homes to prepare for air monitoring and sampling that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and ExxonMobil will conduct. Final recommendations for reentry will be based on analysis of the results and coordinated by the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH).
In the cove, heavy debris removal is almost complete. Any remaining visible oil is being cleaned up by work crews. Specific sections of the recovery sites will soon transition to remediation and restoration after thorough inspections by EPA, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and Faulkner County Judge Dodson. The majority of freestanding oil has been cleaned up.
For 28 consecutive days, data from the air monitors in the Mayflower community have shown levels that are either non-detect or below action levels established by ADH. Ongoing air quality monitoring is being conducted by ExxonMobil.
Based on an analysis of all samples taken to date, ADEQ and ExxonMobil have no evidence that oil from the spill has reached the main body of Lake Conway or Palarm Creek. Air and water data are posted on the ADEQ website at www.adeq.state.ar.us.